The Guardian today published its first in a series of articles produced in collaboration with USC Annenberg students that examines election issues affecting Hispanic communities across the United States. Seven USC Annenberg graduate journalism students, directed by journalism professors Marc Cooper and Alan Mittelstaedt, set out to answer a host of questions about the U.S. Latino electorate. They worked as part of last summer's News21 education project that is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The students fanned out across America to towns and cities selected in tandem with the Guardian. The towns – in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington state – all have one thing in common: an Hispanic population that is approaching or has already surpassed the majority 50% mark rendering these places "majority-minority" arbiters of the future of the US. The students' dispatches provide a fascinating snapshot of the American Latino population as we approach the November presidential election. The first thing that leaps out of them is the diversity of their communities.
The first article, written by recent alumna Raquel Estupinan, explores young Colorado voters who will soon be voting in their first election. "Finally, we're getting our voices heard," student Diomara Balbuena told Estupinan after hearing the news that young undocumented people would no longer be deported and could apply for work permits if they met certain requirements. "It's an unexplainable emotion … to know we're not being left alone."